A new function designed to help businesses immediately begin selling their products on both Facebook and Instagram has been rolled out this week as coronavirus continues to threaten micro and small enterprises.

Facebook Shops transform existing Pages into an online store, so firms struggling to make sales due to the pandemic can quickly get up and running as an e-commerce business.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that Shops are Facebook’s most notable step yet towards enabling ecommerce across its family of apps.  In essence, he says Facebook wants to make it quick and easy for small businesses to set up a Shop and start selling directly to consumers via either Facebook or Instagram.

The launch of Shops comes after Facebook’s State of Small Business report, – published by chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg earlier this week- revealed that around a third of small businesses had shut down as a result of the virus and more than half of those run by self-employed owners are no longer operating. Those who have stayed open face cash flow problems and concerns over customer demand.

Facebook Shops is intended to help those struggling businesses and those who are looking to begin selling online by making it easy to use Facebook apps to connect with buyers. The network is also investing in new features across its apps to inspire people to shop online and to make the buying and selling process seamless.

Mark Zuckerberg says, “We’re seeing a lot of small businesses that never had online presences get online. This isn’t going to make up for all of the lost business, but it can help.”

Setting up your Facebook Shop

Step 1: Convert your page

You must have a Facebook Page to launch a Facebook shop. Once you go to your page, you should see a ‘Shop’ tab. If not, locate the ‘edit page settings’ option on the left side of your navigation bar. Go to ‘templates and tabs’ then edit and select the appropriate template.

Step 2: Add you products

An on screen wizard will guide you through the process of adding items to your store. You’ll be able to choose how people buy your products, select your currency and then load up items to sell. Here, you’ll need to add an image, a price a product description and stock levels.

Facebook users will be able to browse your shop by visiting your Facebook page but you’ll also be able to use Facebook ads to increase visibility.

There’s no fee for selling via Facebook Shops but there is a 5% transaction charge for each purchase made.

The Shops feature will be extended to Instagram later in the summer.

Author Rebecca

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